If you can read this, consider yourself lucky.
When I was a kid, my favorite book was Rainbow Fish.
Either that, or anything on the subject of Witches. I got lucky having such amazing teachers and supportive parents throughout my childhood who helped me develop a love for reading. I never struggled at sounding out words or stringing together sentences which made trips to the library with my friend and her mom an exciting experience. We'd sit on the floor at the base of a huge bookshelf in the SciFi/Fantasy section and spend hours choosing an adventure we wanted to become immersed in.
For many of my friends who grew up in rural Northern Uganda, their experience with reading is probably much different. With little access to quality literacy programs at school or teachers trained in guiding students with reading difficulty, so many children in areas like Amolatar District, Uganda, may never develop a love for reading, let alone learn to read at all.
According to Jeffery A. Smith of the Institute for Social Research, "only 44.5% of children pass basic literacy tests," in Uganda. The number in Northern Uganda is likely even lower.
Literacy rates are a paramount factor in the socio-economic development for places like Namasale Sub-County. An illiterate farmer may never be able to access resources that could help him develop a business plan and support his family more sustainably. He will never be able to help his children with their homework, or read them a bedtime story. He won't be able to read directions for administering medication to his wife if she falls ill.
At Far Away Friends, we believe so strongly in the power of literacy to transform lives. Once our school begins in Namasale, we hope to provide evening and weekend adult literacy classes for the parents of our students so that they may be able to support the learning needs of their children, and support themselves, to a higher degree.
Join us today, on International Literacy Day, in joining together to make a promise to the community of Namasale, Northern Uganda, that we support their desire to improve the quality of education for the next generation of leaders.
Join us in finishing our school.